After staying at properties in Reykjavik, Copenhagen, and Paris, I decided to check out one of Club Carlson’s properties in Madrid – the Radisson Blu Prado – during my recent trip to the city. I was there on a rather expensive week where room rates were north of $400 a night, but thanks to last year’s Radisson Big Night Giveaway, which earned me 50,000 points, and my new Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa, which comes with a sign-up bonus of 85,000 points when you spend $2,500 within 90 days of account opening, I had plenty of points to use.
However, one of the great perks of the Club Carlson credit cards is its “bonus award night” benefit where, on award stays of two nights or more, you get the last night free, which equates to a 50% discount on two-night stays. So although the hotel didn’t have any Standard awards available for the dates I wanted, which would have been 50,000 points per night since this is a Category 6 hotel, there was a “Business Class” room available for 75,000 points per night.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have paid 75,000 points per night, but since I was booking a two-night stay and am a Club Carlson visa cardholder, each night redemption was just half-price at 37,500 points, a much better deal and one I was willing to redeem for since these rooms were going for 330 EUR, or $430, each night (I had booked at the last minute), giving me a per-point value of about 1.1 cents apiece, which is good for Club Carlson points (you can buy them at the equivalent of 0.7 cents apiece). The discount occurred automatically since my card is registered to my account.
I got some more value out of my redemption as well since breakfast was included with the Business Class room rate. The hotel is in an old building and there are just 54 rooms and 6 suites (this is one of the brand’s boutique European properties) so the rooms aren’t as spacious as at some other Radisson Blu’s, and this one was only about 270 square feet – decent by European standards, but by no means large.
Still, I liked it overall, especially the balcony overlooking the street. The rooms were designed by Spanish interior designers, Sandra Tarruella and Isabel Lopez, and feature black and white photographic prints, a cool white-purple color palette and slate bathrooms. As with all Radisson Blu properties, WiFi was complimentary, and there was a flatscreen TV and a small work space.
I also liked the really clean, minimalist bathroom, which had a decent freestanding shower with a rainfall showerhead and was stocked with Anne Sémonin products (another Radisson Blu standard). It was one of those bathrooms where the shower is not completely glassed in, so the floor gets all wet, but that was my only quibble.
An added perk for Business Class guests was complimentary fax and photocopy services, and access to the “Super Breakfast Buffet,” which was not at all super. As you can see, it featured a bunch of cold cuts, but no hot items, so I wouldn’t have paid extra for it if it wasn’t included in the room rate.
Other hotel dining options included The Cask Restaurant which serves typical Spanish tapas, and there was also The Cask Bar. With so many great restaurants in Madrid, though, I didn’t eat at either. Other hotel amenities include a full-service gym as well as a small pool, which is basically just a hot tub.
Overall, though there were some disappointing aspects like the room size and breakfast buffet, I still thought this was a decent hotel choice and a good use of my Club Carlson points given the expensive room rates and its ideal location in one of my favorite parts of town right near the Prado, so I’d stay here again, though I do prefer the Westin Palace.
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